Kitty Morse, Contributing Writer...It’s been three years since we “discovered” the Cordiano Winery in Escondido. For that, I have to thank a friend who happened to read a review on YELP. What a find! The hilltop winery has now become a favorite destination of ours for home-made pizza, baked in a real brick oven that occupies an imposing corner of the winery’s spacious terrace.
Cordiano’s has expanded at least threefold since we first began to satisfy our pizza cravings. Stepping onto the terrace is stepping into a Tuscan restaurant overlooking curving hills lined with vines., complete with colorful umbrellas, a shaded pergola lined with strategically placed water jets to cool you down when temperatures escalate, and a bubbling fountain.
This is the ideal spot for an alfresco lunch, and my mother’s 90th birthday celebration.
Gerardo and Rosa Cordiano’s is an immigrant story, like so many others (mine included) in this amazing country of ours. The couple moved from Calabria to New York in the early 1970’s.
Gerardo honed his Italian culinary skills in Syracuse while Rosa raised their three children. A family visit to San Diego in 1990 convinced them that it was again time to move. Soon after, they opened their first Italian restaurant, Leonardo’s, in Rancho Bernardo, then several in the San Diego area, including Bell’ Agio in Tierrasanta and Trattoria Paradiso in Poway. Their latest endeavor, the winery, fulfills Gerardo’s lifelong dream: to grow grapes and produce his own wines.
Walk up to the kiosk overlooking the valley to place your order and indulge in a sampling of Cordiano wines. The 12-inch specialty pizza, like the vegetarian topped with grilled vegetables happens to be our favorite, as is the fresh tomato-lined margherita. Other toppings include Canadian bacon, or Italian sausage (which I have had many times in spite of my vegetarian husband!) A boxed salad with a delightful dressing, and freshly baked breadsticks, round off the meal. If you are feeling festive, go for the decadent tiramisu!
Kitty Morse, a 38-year resident of Vista, writes about food and travel for local and national publications. Kitty was born in Casablanca, and is the author of 11 cookbooks. The Vista farmer’s market was the inspiration for The California Farm Cookbook which features recipes from local growers. Her latest book is titled Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion with recipes (Chefspress, 2015). She is available for talks and presentations. View her website at www.kittymorse.com.
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15732 Highland Valley Road – Escondido CA 92025 – (760)469-9463 Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations recommended for 6 or more